In the first three blogs posts in this series I covered the Analysis and Design phases of a successful implementation; in this post I am bringing all of your hard work together and covering the build of your non-production/test environments and finally moving to a production rollout.

Build and Test
Once you are done with your design phase you should have a strong set of engineering documents and requirements to build your test environment. This will be a mock of what your production environment will be. Later on in your project this should be used as your non-production/test environment.

This environment will consist of far fewer servers than will be in your production environment but should be large enough to handle all of your test users.

A few of the tasks that should be completed in your non-production environment:
• Systems Integration and scalability tests
• Design Validation and ensuring that all of your required workflows are met and validated for your users.
• Automation tasks
• Design Optimizations/Issue Resolution

One thing that I have seen is a build out of Production and the Build/Test environment at the same time, and with the same exact design documents. Once the environments are up and running they will inevitably have the same issues. Work on the Build/Test environment, find the issues, fix the issues, and document the changes. The updated documents will be used for your pilot and production rollout.

Rollout Phase
Now that you have completed your Build/Test phase you should have a firm design and assurance that most if not all issues and deficiencies have been identified and resolved.

Now you are ready to deploy your pilot and perform your user acceptance testing. Once your user acceptance testing is complete, you will be ready for your production rollout; assured that your users will have very few issues.


Pilot

In the pilot, you want to have your users test all of their workflows and ensure that everything is working as desired/designed. Every environment is different and each feature needs to work flawlessly for a successful implementation. This is your last chance to catch major issues or even little nuisances that will show themselves in a production rollout/go-live. You don’t want to have issues pop-up and have your users complaining about a large-scale initiative or worse, the CEO/CIO calling and asking why the system was rushed to production and threatening to put a halt to the project or declare a downtime emergency because things aren’t working.


Production Rollout

If you have successfully made it through your pilot phase with minor changes, you should now be working on deploying the production environment. If you had issues during the Pilot, you will likely be making the changes in the non-production environment, testing, and then moving through user acceptance testing before you can finalize your production environment.

This is a cyclical process and will continue throughout the life cycle of your implementation. Any changes or issues will need to be tested in non-production, documented, and then moved to production.

Engineers that follow these practices are the ones that I see with few issues if any in their environments and with a high level of user satisfaction. In my experience, the opposite holds true for engineers that do not.

Project Foundations – Focus on XenDesktop
Project Foundations – Focus on XenDesktop – Part II
Project Foundations – Focus on XenDesktop – Part III